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15 yrs. since my last trip to Estes, what changes to expect?

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Iowa
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15 yrs. since my last trip to Estes, what changes to expect?

Hi everyone! I'm headed up to Estes 8/24 and it's been awhile since my last trip. My hubby has never visited this beautiful area, so I am going to show him around- but I'm sure there have been a few changes! We are staying 3 nights at Wildwood (which is new since my last visit) and plan to spend one day driving up Trail Ridge Road to the Alpine Center, then stopping for a couple short hikes on the way back down. I also want to do some wildlife watching (he has never seen an elk!); if I remember correctly Aspenglen is a good place for wildlife, also Morraine Park. A drive down Devil's Gulch Road and some roaming in Estes proper will take part of another day. Where are the good, reasonably priced restaurants in Estes these days? Any reccommendations? I'd love to hear from anyone who has been to Estes in the past year or so, just to kinda review and refresh my memory of the place- shortcuts around town, eats, places to get a good drink, wildlife viewing, short to moderate length-easy to moderate exertion hikes (we won't be acclimated to the altitude), etc. Thanks so much!!

IL
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1. Re: 15 yrs. since my last trip to Estes, what changes to expect?

Hi,

We went back to Estes after a 13 year wait this July! We stayed at the new Stanley hotel Villas, they were beautiful! Estes has gotten a little more touristy in the last decade but the good news is your going when all the kids will be back in school, which is actually when we went 13 years ago and it was great! So, you shouldn't have the amount of people we did in July. We enjoyed for breakfast Big Horn restaurant. And for dinner we went to Hunters Chop House (not to be confused with Hunters BBQ). We loved Hunters Chop House so much we went there twice. Fabulous dinners! And if you like Alfredo, Sweet Basilico is awesome for Italian! Not to be missed is Bear Lake and then hike to Alberta Falls!!! Also, Alluvial Falls is beautiful too!

Iowa
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2. Re: 15 yrs. since my last trip to Estes, what changes to expect?

Healin1- Thanks so much for your response! I can't wait to go back! I appreciate the info on the restaurants and I will check out the Stanely Villas.

florida
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3. Re: 15 yrs. since my last trip to Estes, what changes to expect?

Itchyfeet, we just returned from Estes Park. Healin1 is right on with the suggestion of Hunters Chop House. We ate there only 1 night and would have loved to have gone more. It was delicious.

We stayed away from the touristy downtown area. We did venture down one night to get homemade ice cream and had to drive around for 20 minutes to find a parking place!

As far as hikes go, we did the super easy hike around Bear Lake, the hike to Alberta Falls, the hike to view Chasm Falls (this one is on The Old Fall River Road), the hike at the Alpine Visitors Center, and a beautiful short hike right after entering the park at the Fall River Entrance. There were restrooms right by a beautiful waterfall at the entrace to Lawn Lake Trailhead. There you can also see the damage that was done in 1982 when a dam failed and the area flooded. It started raining before we could do Morraine Park. We saw ALOT of wildlife - most of it just from Trail Ridge Road. I hope you have a great time - we did!!

IL
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18 reviews
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4. Re: 15 yrs. since my last trip to Estes, what changes to expect?

2itchyfeet,

So, true about Hunters Chop House! Have to eat there! Any other questions about the Stanley Villas, let me know! Have a great time! I miss it already!

Iowa
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5. Re: 15 yrs. since my last trip to Estes, what changes to expect?

Once again, thank you both pianogal and healin1. I appreciate the suggestions! Can't wait to leave next week!

IL
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18 reviews
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6. Re: 15 yrs. since my last trip to Estes, what changes to expect?

2itchyfeet,

Have a great time!!! Heh, I left you a note on the Orlando forum!

Springfield...
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7. Re: 15 yrs. since my last trip to Estes, what changes to expect?

Itchy,

My husband and I are staying at the Wildwood the exact same time as you. I hope it is nice. I will keep an eye on your post for tips as well. Thanks.

Iowa
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8. Re: 15 yrs. since my last trip to Estes, what changes to expect?

Thanks everyone for your help! My hubby and I just can't wait for a long weekend together in Estes (our 1st anniversary, too).

IL
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18 reviews
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9. Re: 15 yrs. since my last trip to Estes, what changes to expect?

2itchyfeet

Have a great time in Estes and Happy Aniversary! Did you decide if your going to stay at the Port Orleans in Orlando this Christmas?

Iowa
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10. Re: 15 yrs. since my last trip to Estes, what changes to expect?

Yes, we have decided to stay at Port Orleans- hubby made reservations at Riverside tho before I could suggest FQ. But that's OK- both look good. I'll post on the Orlando site about our trip- we are splitting it between WDW, Universal and the beach.

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